Sunday, June 4, 2017

Fontana Days Run 2017: Was Worth a Try!

I ran this race in 2011 and while it was a little warmer than I was used to, I had a 6+ minute PR thanks to the ridiculous downhill is has (~2000 ft over 13 miles). There are no uphills. Just a couple flat spots and maybe the smallest of incline. I ran 1:41 something back then, when I hadn't yet run a marathon (other than my first 2 in 2003) and my 5K PR was something like 23:xx. Since then, I'm considerably fast in all distances so I figured I could probably do better than 1:37:00 for an NYCM qualification. TL;DR: I didn't even get a course PR yesterday.

The morning started at 4am, and I hydrated like a champ. I ended up drinking about a liter of water pre-race. The forecast was not looking great - high of 93F, and strangely high humidity for the inland empire. I was expecting my "monthly bill" to come due (if you catch my drift, but it can vary +/- 1 day) so I was checking, checking, checking all morning before I left the hotel. No sign. I take one regular Tampax with me just in case. In the 15 minute drive from the hotel to parking, guess what? It showed up. And I could tell that my one "regular" provision was not going to cover me for 4+ hours.

I had about 50 minutes before the last bus load to the start, so I started jogging around to find that Stater Bros wasn't yet open. The crossing signals are disabled because the road was closing, yet there are cops everywhere so the only way I can get across is essentially to break the law and jaywalk. I finally just say "f**k it" and jay "run" across the street. First Mobil I go into is the smallest shop ever - has nothing. I see a Circle K across the street so I run across the street again and finally procure an exorbitantly priced mini pack of tampons. Sorry if you're a dude reading this but this is just one extra complication you don't have to worry about - consider yourself lucky!

At this point, its already warm. I get on a bus and get to the top about 50 minutes before the start. 20 minutes of porta potty line, I go warm up for a mile, do some strides/dynamic stretches. And it is hot. I remember in 2011 I was cold enough to keep my long sleeve on until the start. Not today. I look at the porta potty lines and they are long and decide to find a spot to pop a quick squat. Everyone is doing the same thing! I end up finding a dirt hole that was sunk down enough that you would only see my head - another girl is doing the same thing as me in another hole 30 feet away.

I peel off my tee shirt to my crop and shorts. It's 69F and 70% humidity, not much wind. At 7:30am we are off. By mile 2, I am sweating fairly heavily. I get through mile 5 around goal pace of 7:25. During the 6th mile is when I knew my goal was not going to happen. It was already hot, I had started dumping water on myself from the 2nd aid station. But in mile 6, you leave the shade of the mountains and the course becomes more and more exposed. I think mile 6 I was over 7:30 and knew that getting the next 7 miles near 7:20 was going to be impossible for me with the heat.

So I dialed it back because I didn't see a good reason to risk heat exhaustion for not even a PR. There will be other opportunities. There always are. I slowed down to miles ranging from 7:55 to 8:30. Mile 11, I was so hot, I let myself walk through the aid station. Mile 12, an Islamic center had set up an aid station and they were handing out ice cold mini-bottles of water. I downed it and immediately felt better. The cold water cooled my core temperature enough that I felt good enough to finish the last bit of the race in the low 7:00s. Looked at my phone after I crossed and Wunderground said it was 84F. It really was miserably hot.

Now, here is where it's even funnier with this day. I only have my Garmin time. I crossed 1:44:03 on my watch but when I went to go find my time, online, I'm not listed! My chip didn't register. So, perhaps it all kind of worked out in a weird way? Because how pissed would I have been if I had actually ran my goal and then had no official time?!

Completely drenched from pouring water on myself with my janky malfunctioning bib/chip


I don't know if I'll run Fontana again. The heat is too much of a risk - it seems like some years you get good weather but often you don't. Rock n Roll San Diego is today and it's overcast 60s - I'm pretty sure I would have run a faster time today at home than dragging my ass 2 hours north to Fontana. Probably not the 1:37 but not a 1:44. And I wouldn't still have a headache lingering the day after from the heat an dehydration.